Objectives: Smokers underestimate the health risks of smoking and overestimate their expected longevity. Warning labels on cigarette packs might help correct these misperceptions. Methods: We carried out an online study with 1200 smokers (18-62 years old), randomized to 3 conditions:
text warning labels, pictorial warning labels, and a control group (water bottle labels). Warning labels were based on those proposed by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2010. Participants in each condition saw 4 randomly selected labels and rated their expected longevity and chances
of surviving to age 75 after exposure. Analyses of covariance controlled for cigarettes per day and self-rated health. Results: Compared to control, both text and pictorial warnings reduced participants' expected longevity (text: mean = 76.8 years, pictorial: 77.3, control 79.4) and their
estimated chances of living to 75 (text: 62.0%, pictorial: 63.0%, control 66.5%). The contrast between text and pictorial labels combined and control showed significantly reduced expected longevity (p = .011) and chances of living to 75 (p = .004). Differences between text and pictorial conditions
were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Large text or pictorial warnings on cigarette packs might help smokers develop a more accurate understanding of the effects of smoking on their longevity.
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Document Type: Research Article
Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Fransisco CA
Department of Medicine, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, CA
Publication date: 01 March 2018
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The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.
The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.
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